Amish people don't carry health insurance. Instead, they contribute money to a community fund that can be tapped into during times of need.
This is just one of many interesting facts that I learned from reading Amanda L. Grossman's article about Amish finances in the Houston Chronicle. Grossman grew up in Lancaster County, PA, the "heart of Amish country," and her father often worked for their Amish neighbors as a driver. (Amish people don't allow themselves to drive automobiles, but they sometimes hire drivers to take them to the doctor or other places that are too far to go by horse-and-buggy.) Grossman got much of her information for the article by interviewing her father, who became friends with several Amish families as a result of working for them from time-to-time.
Grossman was interested in finding out how it was possible that the Amish, who don't use electricity and shun many modern conveniences, are able to own large, well-maintained houses surrounded by plenty of farmland. Among other reasons, she learned that when Amish children get part-time jobs (learning valuable trades and living at home to help the family with farm chores), they hand over their paychecks to their parents, who save 90 percent of it. When the children turn 21, the parents return the money to them as a lump sum. This sizable nest egg gives them a good head start in life as independent adults. Grossman compares this to her own financial situation at age 21 — being in her third year of college, "having racked up considerable student
loan debt," and living miles from home.
My children are too young to have part-time jobs, but when they get them, I'd like to develop a similar savings plan for them.
Don't miss the rest of the article, as there are lots of other nuggets of wisdom there that you may be able to incorporate into your own financial planning.